Sports / Tennis

Federer overwhelmed by support in China

By Agence France-Presse in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2013-10-11 07:49

Swiss star relishes performing in front of wildly enthusiastic fans

Roger Federer said on Wednesday he draws huge motivation from the fervent support he receives in China despite his slip from the pinnacle of the men's game.

The Swiss has formed a special bond with fans in Shanghai after regular visits to the city over more than a decade, and the fact that he is no longer world No 1 barely seems to register.

"It was crazy in the practice today. I mean, I expected some people to be there, but not sort of hanging over the fence and holding up the banner 'I believe in you'," said Federer.

 Federer overwhelmed by support in China

Roger Federer waves to the crowd after beating Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-3 in the second round of the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday. In the third-round match on Thursday, Federer lost to Frenchman Gael Monfils, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 3-6. Peter Parks / Agence France-Presse

"It was great energy, I must say. It gives me unbelievable motivation, inspires me to train hard, work hard, push further, you know, for that particular day, but also wanting to come back again next year, and again and again."

Federer, who is now ranked seventh in the world after a poor season by his own imperious standards, said time spent in China and his success around the world has helped him connect with fans.

"The last few years have been an absolute blast on tour, and I hope it continues this way," he said.

Federer, 32, also spoke about his first few months on Twitter after holding an impromptu question and answer session on the social networking site the previous day.

He fielded questions on everything from his travel wish list to his favorite TV shows and his shoe size.

"It's definitely something I wanted to see how it developed, for other players, for the world really. Were people really actually excited about it, didn't care, didn't like it? I just wanted to wait and see," he said.

It's just a different way to connect to the fans, and I'm having a good time with it. So far it's been a lot of fun. I hope the fans also enjoy that they can connect with me," he said.

Federer is on the brink of qualifying for next month's ATP World Tour Finals in London. He is in a tight battle with fellow Swiss Stanilas Wawrinka and Frenchman Richard Gasquet for the two final berths in the field of eight.

Already qualified are world No 1 Rafael Nadal, No 2 Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer while Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych are virtually assured of making the event at London's O2 Arena.

World No 3 Andy Murray pulled out of the London tournament after back surgery.

(China Daily 10/11/2013 page23)

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